Friday recap, the city life and a root canal

 Hi, welcome to the Friday recap! Have you entered the $1,000 and $100 cash giveaways?

Buses in Guatemala are hand me down school buses from the US

When the US school buses are old, they retire in Guatemala and get pimped up with colorful designs

Life update

I have been traveling this week, to Guatemala City. I used to live there and have many friends still, so it was nice to meet again and spend some time sharing their daily lives. Guatemala city has a bad reputation for violence, and I never had any problems in the two years I lived there, but the last time I went for a visit I got mugged on the bus and the trauma is still there. I don’t like to take the bus anymore, watch my back when walking on the streets, and I was not looking forward to being on my own during that trip.

Since I had to renew my visa I needed to carry my passport, and I have been having problems with my money transfers to bring money here, so there were also big ATM withdrawals involved and I had a few stressful days. Luckily, nothing happened. I can’t believe how one bad experience ruined two years of perfect days.

I spent about $300 in three full days, which is a lot, but includes

  • Night bus round trip, 350 miles in 8 hours, luxury AC bus.
  • A root canal of a tooth that broke around Christmas, never nice but needed
  • Visa extension
  • Food for my friend who was kind enough to host me
  • Foods and drinks out with friends

Other than the admin stuff, I went out a bit, had great food, and reconnected with the modern world, malls, shops, bars… Highlights included wearing warm clothes fresh out of the dryer after three months of hand-washing my clothes (I am used to the warm weather of the North and it was a bit cold here!),  a trip to Mc Donald’s (no, this is not what I meant above by ”I had great food”) and a lot of quick eats in the street food-carts, window shopping for perfect house items that BF will pick up when he comes with a car, and reasonably fast internet. Yes, after 3 months of rural life, I am easily impressed. Having a crazy social life for a few days was great, although I am glad to go back to the peace and quiet of my little paradise.

This week marks 3 months of living in Guatemala, and on Monday, you are in for an update so stay tuned! Apart from another stay of 7 months in Guatemala in the winter of 2011, this is the first time in two years that I stay in one country for so long, and it feels good to be rooted and have a home again.

Blog news

A big thanks to Jason at Work Save Live for guest posting on Monday about how to save money when buying a car.

This week marks the end of the 13 money resolutions for 2013 series, the posts were really popular and I am glad you enjoyed them. Here is the full list if you missed some.

Step 1 start somewhere
Step 2 trim the fat
Step 3 do it yourself
Step 4 stop wasting
Step 5 review your expenses
Step 6 crush your debt
Step 7 make more money
Step 8 be happy
Step 9 max it out!
Step 10 stop buying
Step 11 give back
Step 12 make a plan
Step 13 enjoy!

Last week I shared a tip about how to automate tweets on Hootsuite and this week, in an attempt to save time, I have been looking at Google Reader. Yes, you already have subscribed to many RSS feeds, but do you know you can make lists to prioritize blogs that you check daily, your own blog(s), blogs you just browse when you have time… I also find it easy to read in Reader and get more reading done than on sites. Why? Because the font is consistent, there is no distraction like a toolbar on the side…

To help my fellow bloggers with their stats, I do click on the article when I start reading it, then go back to read on Reader and on the blog again to comment and tweet. It lengthen the time of my visit.

I was featured this week on Frugal RulesThe random path,Canadian Budget Binder,Money Bulldog, Work Save Live, Eyes on the Dollar, Outlier Model, Making sense of cents, Carnival of financial camaraderie, One Smart Dollar,Modest Money, Lifestyle Carnival Carnival of Financial Planning,

Here are a few great posts for you to enjoy!


Save big money on feeding your family by double dipping at Frugal Farmer

Can we all realistically expect to love our jobs? at NZ muse

What is the best way to make money on the internet? at Frugal Portland

Benefits of a crappy job at Eyes on the Dollar

Dream technology at Budget and the Beach

How I turned my passion and skills into making extra money at Canadian Budget Binder

Why not to have children… ever at Outlier Model

Do you have what it takes to be a paper boy? At Edward Antrobus

January, time to get financially fit at Money Principle

5 ways to save money on home insurance at Money Bulldog

How often do you upgrade your phone at Digital Personal Finance

Malibu mail – Random acts of kindness at Unique gifter

Time to establish financial and savings goals for 2013 at Broke Ass Mommy

A mobile phone dilemna at Savvy Scot

How to go from hobby to a business at My Money Design


Enjoy your weekend! Anything nice planned? Some snow activities maybe?


This post was featured on the Edward Antrobus, Outlier Model, thank you!


A 30 something French girl embarking on a journey towards Financial Independence. I blog about money, travel, simple and deliberate living, freedom and choices. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or Reach Financial Independence's Facebook Page

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  1. I can’t believe it, 3 months already! It seems like you just got there, although a lot has happened since you moved.

    I really enjoyed reading your 13 money resolutions posts Pauline, it was a great idea and you have some wonderful advice in there.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..MPB – Pool Room Posts #14My Profile

  2. Sounds like you had a fun week Pauline…other than the root canal…I had one a few years ago and it was no fun. I am going to get started on brewing my own beer this weekend, which I am very excited to do. Have a great weekend and thanks for the mention!
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Friday: Blog Posts That Ruled This Week, I Hate Being Sick EditionMy Profile

  3. Hey there thanks for mentioning me! Sorry to hear about your bad experiences, I know how stuff like that can impact you for many years to follow.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..Travel Like a Minimalist – PackingMy Profile

  4. That bus is amazing! Thanks for the mention Pauline, I didn’t know you could prioritize blogs in Google reader so I’ll have to look at that. Have a great weekend!
    Money Bulldog recently posted..A Crazy Way to Make Money On eBay!My Profile

    • You should see the inside, they have colored lights blinking like a Christmas tree, generally a couple of religious pictures next to an almost naked girl, the whole thing is incredible.

  5. Sorry to hear of that bad experience and like anything one bad experience is enough for someone to be cautious the next time around. Sounds like you had a great time with your mates and ate some good food. I”ll have to check out that recipe of yours, I missed that. Your interview was great. I shared it on my FB and the fans were in awe!!! Have a lovely day Pauline. Mr.CBB
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..How I Turned My Passion and Skills Into Making Extra MoneyMy Profile

  6. The “roughest” place I’ve traveled to is Juarez, Mexico, but was in a large group the entire time so I was fine. Looking back, though, something bad could have easily happened. People had been killed or kidnapped within a block or two of where we were staying. It’s scary to think about and is amazing how different it is in the Twin Cities here in Minnesota vs. in Juarez.

    I look forward to your post about Google Reader. I would like to do some sort of social media post next week, though I haven’t decided what it will be yet. I’ve done about four posts on Twitter so I may continue with that…we’ll see.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..20 Giveaways for Friday – Freezing Cold EditionMy Profile

    • It is definitely another world down there! The lack of middle class and huge wealth gap between very poor and very rich and only bring resentment and greed. Where I live is very peaceful thankfully, but the capital city is quite a mess. Lots of improvement in the past few years though.

  7. Well, that doesn’t seem like a very exciting trip. I appreciate the mention of my article. It means a lot. I hope you enjoy your weekend Pauline!
    Grayson @ Debt RoundUp recently posted..Weekly Personal Finance Blog RoundUp – 1/25/2013My Profile

  8. Root canals are never fun, at least it was inexpensive! Thanks for the links, I am in good company.
    krantcents recently posted..Rich Man, Poor ManMy Profile

    • Yeah, the price was not too bad, although in France they cost only about $30 once you deduce social security, that one was $120. The good thing is you don’t wait around to get an appointment, and the meds were compatible with having a drink that night :)

  9. Isn’t it funny how large the city seems when you’ve been in a rural area? We are not nearly as remote as you but I feel that way whenever we go to Phoenix or Denver. Thanks for the mention. Have a great weekend.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Girl Scout Cookies Cost How Much?My Profile

    • One certainly gets used to the quiet and remote. The big city has noise, traffic, pollution, it is overwhelming! I am always glad to go for convenience and social life, and happy to go back. Enjoy your weekend!

  10. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy says:

    I am so jealous of your grand adventures. And then you can retire peacefully in your own secluded paradise. Dying. of. envy. Keep up all of the great momentum, Pauline!
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..When quibbling over finances leads to a rift in friendship.My Profile

  11. K.K.@ Living Debt Free Rocks! says:

    I’m sure you were feeling wary of those around you so it’s good that all went well this time around and you had a good time overall. A couple of years ago, my sister in Trinidad was also held-up at gunpoint while riding on the bus. She played it cool but she admitted to me that she was very scared; and rightfully so! Have a great week-end. We’re planning to head on to the beach this week-end to unwind a bit.
    K.K.@ Living Debt Free Rocks! recently posted..What Is Your Debt Holding You Back From Doing?My Profile

    • Sorry for your sister, that is really terrible. What I thought about the bus was at least they didn’t come for me, I happened to be in the bus but I was not a direct target. Now I do look behind me once in a while and hide my belongings on me, I have a purse with $10 to give and the rest hidden, which would limit the damage but the paranoia is still there. I think when you pay more attention you can save yourself from many assaults, when I got mugged in the streets I was day dreaming and didn’t see it coming.

  12. Pauline! Thanks for the mention. I love that smoldering picture of you in the corner 😉
    Lauren @ L Bee and the Money Tree recently posted..….When You’re Talking in Your SleepMy Profile

  13. Man I remember going a week hand washing my clothes on a backpacking trip and then being able to use a dryer. There is nothing like the feeling. Multiply that by 3 months! Glad you enjoyed your time in the city (and it was safe!). Thanks for the blog mention!
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..Link Love/Week in Review 1/25/13My Profile

    • I am fine with hand washing when it is hot, although the bed sheets are a pain. But the weather has been pretty bad for a few days and having to wash on a rainy day is tedious. I have to teach the handyman to do it :)

  14. Sucks about the root canal :(

    Have an awesome weekend Pauline!
    Mackenzie recently posted..Link Love: Toys Are Taking Over Edition!My Profile

  15. Thanks for the mention. Tooth problems always seem to happen around Christmas, don’t they? In college, I got a tooth infection that landed me in the ER on Christmas Eve so I could get some powerful pain medication to get me through until dentists went back to work.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..Is $1000 a Large Enough Emergency Fund?My Profile

  16. When I first looked at the picture of the bus I thought of the Partridge Family Bus.

    Hope your root canal went well and they you can relax now that you are back home.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Developing Good Financial Habits in 5 Easy StepsMy Profile

  17. Thanks a lot for the mention. Sorry to hear that you had to have a root canal.
    Sean @ One Smart Dollar recently posted..How to Save Money on Tires in 2013My Profile

  18. maria@moneyprinciple says:

    Pauline, glad you had good time; thanks for mentioning us and hope to speak soon (I don’t think we are linked on G+).
    maria@moneyprinciple recently posted..Dealing with debt: change your mental attitudeMy Profile

  19. Thanks for the mention :)

    I was going to comment WOW I love those buses… until I read that you had been mugged. That sucks! Glad it was a more positive experience this time.

    Sounds like you had fun reconnecting with the hustle and bustle… did you find yourself getting tired out quickly by any chance 😉 ?

    Congrats on finishing your series… still got a few of them to catch up on :)
    Savvy Scot recently posted..3 Things to Consider Before Jumping on the Property LadderMy Profile

    • I love those buses, they are such a colorful experience. Preachers come in with a Bible, ex cons sell candy, people travel on one seat with five kids so you end up with a couple on your laps, there are always chicken or goats on the roof rail… I don’t want to miss all that for a bad experience.
      And yes, I got tired (OMG! are we getting old??) but not until the third day when I went back. I so excited to see my friends I slept 5 hours per night at most.

  20. Thanks so much for doing the reader profile on my site! :)
    Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey recently posted..Have You Considered House Swapping For Your Next Vacation?My Profile

  21. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures in Guatemala. You’re very brave to live there. But I envy your adventurous style. It’s an adventure you will cherish all your life. Where will you go to next?
    Dave recently posted..Cheap Ways to Increase the Value of Your HomeMy Profile

  22. Aww thanks for sharing my post Pauline and for your thoughtful comment!

    I only click on posts in Reader that I want to comment on (I don’t really believe in leaving crappy one line comments for the sake of it).
    eemusings recently posted..Link love (Powered by bare naturals and email drama)My Profile

  23. My google reader was getting a little out of hand, so I recently regrouped so that I’m only seeing the blogs I want to read regularly. I had missed the original post on Jana’s blog about the mugging. Glad your travels went smoothly this time. I’m sure that’s always in the back of your (or front of your) mind. It would be on mine.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..My Dog Has More Coats Than I DoMy Profile

  24. That’s a lot that you got in for $300! I know what you mean about one bad experience violating your feeling of safety or confidence. It can really be traumatizing. I’m glad you got out of it okay.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Wish My Black Thumb LuckMy Profile

  25. Looks like you are doing great! I love the pimped out busses, very creative and pretty.
    debtgirl recently posted..This and That SoupMy Profile

  26. We visited Guatemala city too a few years ago. It didn’t seem the safest. There are much nicer places to the country than there. Sorry to hear you got mugged. That can be so scary. I am just glad you are ok after. You just never know sometimes.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..Friday Links – Week Three of ChaosMy Profile

  27. Pauline, aside from the few bumps in your trip, can I just say I love living vicariously through you as you travel and country-hop? Good for you for putting yourself in a financial situation where you can do the things you love to do. :-). You are an inspiration! Thanks too, for the mention. I appreciate it!
    Laurie recently posted..How to Have a Frugal Superbowl PartyMy Profile

  28. Thanks for including us! Three weeks is exciting – we’re looking forward to hearing more about Guatemala :)
    CF recently posted..Updates: January 20 – 26My Profile

  29. Happy 3 month Anniversary in Guatemala! What a cool “mini retirement” you have going on…if that is what it is :)
    Tony@YouOnlyDoThisOnce recently posted..How to Overhaul Your Life in One Month: A Case StudyMy Profile

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